Hertz gambles on EV rental market in China
US car rental company Hertz Corp will provide electric vehicles as part of its rental business in China as part of its global roll-out of electric vehicles.
Through their new partnership, the companies aim to help develop new energy applications to support electric vehicles. As part of the joint effort, Hertz will also rent BYD’s e6 electrical vehicle (EV) to Chinese consumers, municipalities and government agencies.
“With our partnership with BYD, we can offer a complete solution including rental and sales — another first for our industry,” said Mark Frissora, chairman and CEO of Hertz.
“EVs for car rental in China is an innovative step for new energy industry development,” added Chuanfu Wang, chairman and CEO of BYD. He said the companies’ partnership “will certainly bring ‘green’ transportation to the forefront.”
The BYD e6 has been in use in Shenzhen taxi fleets for over a year now. According to BYD, the first fleet of 50 e6 taxis have surpassed 4 million cumulative fleet km without energy or range degradation and have been fast-charged daily the entire length of service. Another 300 e6s were added to the fleets in July for the 2011 Shenzhen Universiade games.
However, EVs have not seen the success among buyers that China had hoped.
Following Hertz's announcement the China Daily quoted Lin Cheng, deputy director of the National Engineering Laboratory for Electric Vehicles in Beijing, as saying, "This idea is novel, but I doubt whether they can translate it into cash flows.
"For example, one of the electric models Hertz is adopting in China, the BYD e6, bundles so many battery sets in the car that it becomes bulky and heavy, which leads to high costs and an uncomfortable driving experience."
Lin added that even with rebates from the central and local governments, most EVs are still too expensive for rental companies to buy. "The high price of EVs is the major hurdle for Hertz and other car rental companies to roll out rental services to the public," Lin said.